Blades Fans Column: The day Shred tried to get a ref to ‘forget’ friendly red card

Brian Gayle
Brian Gayle
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Here’s my favourite story about legendary Blades fan Shred, who sadly passed away last week...

In the summer of 1992 United went to Scotland. They played at Forfar, where Brian Gayle got himself sent off for head-butting somebody.

Violent conduct in a pre-season friendly - can you believe it?

He was therefore to be suspended for the first game of the season at home to Manchester United, the first match in the new-fangled Premier League no less. But he wouldn’t be suspended if Shred had anything to do with it. Spotting the referee in the club bar afterwards, he decided to have a word to see what could be done.

Shred’s mini-bus was supposed to be setting off on the long drive home straight after the match, but he had gone missing. The others went to look for him. They found Shred had coralled the referee in a corner of the bar, plying him with Drambuie and Scotch and praising his performance during the match. He also got the referee to sign his programme. Of course it was all part of Shred’s grand plan to make Brian Gayle available for the big one against Man United. He was overheard asking the referee: “Tha’s not going to put it in t’report are tha?”

The referee replied: “I’ve got to. I’ve sent him off. It’s a straight red card, not two yellows.”

Shred was not put off. “Nah, nah,” he responded. “I know but tha doesn’t have to…. another whisky? It’s a friendly, I mean he deserved sending off, he’s a foolish man, I’ll sort it, I’ll speak to him, all reight pal?”

Such powers of persuasion did no good. Shred had failed, and was inconsolable on the way back. Gayle was banned. United got Alan McLeary on loan to replace him and promptly beat Manchester United 2-1!

“Happy Days”!